Planning a Successful Cloud Migration

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Similarly, IT managers running workloads in the cloud the same as an on-prem environment will find themselves over-provisioning, leading to increased costs and over-architected infrastructure. For instance, a retailer often sets up infrastructure with an “always-on” approach so workloads can run during peak holiday shopping seasons. This over-provisioning is not necessary in the cloud, as it increases expenses.

Understanding Data Needs

Many executives today love the idea of a cloud-first strategy, as it allows them to turn capital expenses into operating expenses. But in reality, there are a plethora of considerations to keep in mind. They often can fall into a place where they are not taking time to understand the full digital estate of the company or create a cloud adoption plan. To access the full benefits of the cloud, they need to assess their fitness for it—what data and applications can be moved, how they should be moved, if there is a need for rearchitecting or SaaS solutions and more.

It’s key to understand this, as there is some data unsuited for, or that can’t be moved to, the public cloud. Examples of this include data that needs to remain resident in one country due to privacy or regulatory requirements or data with strict latency requirements, where it might be best to have the data as close as possible to the user’s location. It’s important for companies, as well as their leaders, to understand their data and its requirements prior to migrating to the cloud to avoid repercussions.

Avoid Moving Applications “As-Is”

Some organizations are running large applications that will not run optimally in the cloud. In these instances, it’s suggested to re-architect those applications using micro services and containers—which will allow each portion of the application to run in a smaller footprint and scale horizontally, if needed, or moving from IaaS to PaaS solutions. The cloud’s scalability is one of its greatest strengths—but it only works properly if applications follow suit.

It’s also important to have a clear understanding of how the types of clouds work – and that not all applications thrive in a cloud-first environment. A hybrid approach can help segment assets across private, public and/or on-prem solutions, which allows workloads to be managed more effectively and can accelerate the company’s digital transformation journey. If considering a hybrid approach, it’s helpful to take a step back and think less about specific workloads and consider the workload use cases. Regulatory and latency requirements, as well as workload distribution and network capabilities, help make the case for a hybrid approach. For example, do you have data and processing that can’t be moved and needs to reside in a controlled place? Is one of your services a website that needs to maintain close proximity to its user base? Companies need to think through their specific services and use cases to better understand the investment to determine if hybrid architectures can modernize and make their business operations more efficient.

Engaging the Right Partner

Cloud migration takes planning, preparation and deep technical knowledge, but when handled properly can be incredibly beneficial for businesses. A clear strategy and competent team leading the effort is critical. Many companies try to tackle the challenges alone and don’t experience the full potential of the cloud. Partnering with a trusted Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help streamline migration processes. Engaging a partner does come with costs, but the dollars spent come with expertise that can help you avoid mistakes and leverage a proper cloud adoption framework. Companies should determine what skills are available in-house, then seek out an MSP to help fill in the knowledge gaps and provide additional support.

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